Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletter, Sept. 6


Our weekly online publication to highlight bright spots from across the public school system. With the ongoing response to the West Maui wildfires, we have changed our header to pink in support of Maui’s official color and are focusing on updates, resources and how to help Lāhainā school communities.

Sept. 6

Editorial Mission: As the Department's primary publication, we aim to live up to the meaning of ha‘aheo – to cherish with pride – by bolstering and sustaining pride in public education and touting the successes happening across our system.

Editor's Note: With the ongoing response to the West Maui wildfires, we have changed our header to pink in support of Maui’s official color and are focusing on updates, resources and how to help Lāhainā school communities.

Aloha, HIDOE Community

The Department remains on track to reopen our Lāhainā schools by mid-October as we await the results of environmental testing. In the meantime, families who remain in Lāhainā are encouraged to consider attending designated schools in Central or South Maui or applying for distance learning, if their situation allows.

Free bus service will launch tomorrow, Sept. 7, for impacted elementary and intermediate students from Lāhainā to attend the following designated schools:

  • Grades K-5: King Kamehameha III Elementary and Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary students will be temporarily assigned to either Wailuku Elementary or Kamali‘i Elementary in Kīhei.
  • Grades 6-8: Lāhainā Intermediate students will be temporarily assigned to Lokelani Intermediate in Kīhei.
To participate, students must be enrolled temporarily at the schools listed above. More information, including the pick-up and drop-off schedule from centralized West Maui locations and how to register, is on our website here.

Free bus service for high school students will begin Sept. 14, when Lāhaināluna High is scheduled to begin meeting at its temporary site at Kūlanihākoʻi High in Kīhei. Students who want to take advantage of transportation from West Maui to Kūlanihākoʻi are encouraged to sign up in advance at bit.ly/485vRXh.

We recognize that families have different situations and levels of readiness to return to school campuses. The Department is committed to providing learning options to best serve families impacted or displaced by the wildfires. Families who need assistance can call the Department’s support hotline at (808) 727-6880 or text SUPPORT to (808) 736-1427, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Keith T. Hayashi


Social media highlights of schools and staff in their efforts to help, support and bolster the West Maui school community.

Keone‘ula Elementary
»To Maui from Keone‘ula, our hearts are with you. ❤️ #mauistrong #alohaformaui #keoneulaelementaryschool


Waipahu Elementary
»Mahalo to all the WES staff for donating items for the people of Lāhainā and to WES students for writing cards of gratitude and love to our ohana in Maui💛💙#alwayschooselove #compassioninaction #gratitude #loveconquersfear

Mental Health Support and Resources

It is essential to create a supportive environment and spread awareness about the importance of mental health. September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness about suicide, reduce stigma and promote resources and support for individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. Suicide is a serious public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. For more information on awareness activities and various resources, please contact Lydell.Corteza-Acosta@k12.hi.us.

HIDOE staff can always reach out to the Employee Assistance of the Pacific, which is available 24/7, by calling (808) 597-8222 or toll-free at (877) 597-8222. Hawai‘i CARES is an emotional support hotline also available 24/7 with local crisis counselors who can call/text/chat at 988 or 1-800-753-6879.

Students have access to school-based in-person mental health and well-being services that are available on every campus. Hazel Health licensed therapists are also available to help students cope with anxiety, grief, loneliness, change and more. Telehealth services are available Monday to Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. HST.

Important Dates and Upcoming Events

How to Help

Mahalo to Wyland Galleries! Lāhainā Intermediate Principal Stacy Bookland accepted their $5,000 donation on behalf of Lāhainā schools.

The most immediate need and request from our Maui schools is for monetary donations that can provide direct support for response efforts. The Public School of Hawai‘i Foundation (PSHF) is partnering with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education to support our public school communities impacted by the destructive wildfires on Maui.

All monetary donations in support of this effort received by PSHF through Oct. 1, 2023 will be designated solely for Maui public schools affected by the wildfire disaster. Tax deductible credit card contributions may be made online or via check payable to Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 41478 Honolulu, Hawaii 96812.


Keith Hayashi


Heidi Armstrong

Deputy Superintendent


Curt Otaguro

Deputy Superintendent

Tammi Oyadomari-Chun
Deputy Superintendent


Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Annie Kalama
Student Support Services

Michael Otsuji

Information Technology Services
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations

Cara Tanimura

Strategy, Innovation and Performance

Teri Ushijima

Curriculum and Instructional Design



Nanea Kalani

Executive Editor


Chanel Honda

Managing Editor


Sara Miyazono
Creative Director


Derek Inoshita

Contributing Writer


Krislyn Yano

Contributing Writer



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1390 Miller St. Honolulu, HI 96813 | Phone: (808) 784-6200 | Fax: (808) 586-3234
Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us


Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: 808-784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us


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